Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding) (cont.)
Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.
In this Article
- Rectal bleeding (blood in stool) definition and facts
- What does rectal bleeding (blood in stool) mean?
- What are causes of blood in the stool (rectal bleeding)?
- What diseases and conditions can cause blood in the stool (rectal bleeding)?
- Anal fissures
- Colon cancer and polyps
- Colitis and proctitis
- Meckel's diverticulum
- Rare causes of rectal bleeding
- What kind of doctor treats rectal bleeding?
- When should I call a doctor for blood in the stool (rectal bleeding)?
- How is the cause of blood in the stool (rectal bleeding) diagnosed?
- History and physical examination
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Radionuclide scans
- Visceral angiogram
- Video capsule and small intestine endoscopy
- MRI and CT tomographic angiography
- Nasogastric tube aspiration
- Blood tests
- What is the treatment for rectal bleeding (blood in the stool)?
- Can rectal bleeding (blood in the stool) be prevented?
- What is the prognosis of rectal bleeding (blood in the stool)?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Can rectal bleeding (blood in the stool) be prevented?
Most diseases that cause rectal bleeding are likely preventable, but it often is not possible.
- Hemorrhoids can be avoided with proper diet and by prevention of constipation and straining to pass stool, but normal pregnancy increases the risk of hemorrhoid formation as does the acute diarrheal illness.
- Avoiding constipation is believed to decrease the risk of diverticulosis, outpouchings in the lining of the colon, and the risk of a diverticular bleed.
- Alcohol abuse increases the risk of rectal bleeding in a variety of ways, from directly irritating the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, to decreasing clotting capabilities of blood.
What is the prognosis of rectal bleeding (blood in the stool)?
The prognosis depends upon the underlying cause of the bleeding. Fortunately, the cause of rectal bleeding often is benign, and due to hemorrhoids or an anal fissure.
It is important to never ignore blood in the stool or rectal bleeding. It may be a clue to a serious illness and the earlier a diagnosis can be made, the better the chance for a cure.
Penner, R. M., MD, et al. "Blood in the stool (rectal bleeding) in adults (Beyond the Basics)." UpToDate. Updated Sep 3, 2015.
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